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Anna of Austria (1601-1666)

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Anne of Austria
Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria (September 22, 1601 - January 20, 1666) was Queen Consort of France and Regent for her son, Louis XIV of France. During her relatively brief reign, Cardinal Mazarin served as France's chief minister.

She was born in Valladolid, Spain, as the daughter of Hapsburg parents, Philip III, king of Spain, and Margaret of Austria.

On November 24, 1615, she was married to King Louis XIII of France (1601-1643), part of the Bourbon Dynasty. They would have two sons, Louis (the dauphin) born in 1638 and Philip I, Duke of Orléans born in 1640. The marriage was not a happy one, filled with mistrust, and King Louis tried to prevent her from obtaining the regency after his death. However, in 1643 Parliament ratified her powers on his death. Their four-year-old son was crowned King Louis XIV of France. Anne assumed the regency but entrusted the government to the prime minister, Jules Mazarin, who was believed to be her lover.

With Mazarin's support, Anne overcame the revolt led by Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé. In 1651, when her son Louis XIV officially came of age, her regency legally ended. However, she kept much power and influence over her son. In 1659, the war with Spain ended with the Treaty of the Pyrenees. The following year, peace was cemented by the marriage of the young King Louis to Anne's niece, the Spanish Hapsburg princess Marie-Thérèse of Austria.

In 1661, Anne retired to a convent where she later died.

Queen Anne's memoirs were published in 1662 by François de la Rochefoucauld. Many view her as a brilliant and cunning woman and she is one of the central figures in Alexandre Dumas' novel, The Three Musketeers.

Last updated: 08-24-2005 18:44:24
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13